It seems that everyone and their mother has an online presence through one form of social media or another. With the amount of people now engaged on these various social platforms there are constant opportunities for dialogue between customers and businesses. The challenge for businesses wanting to engage customers through social media lies in following trends and finding those people interested in your products or services. Below we will lay out some resources and tools that can help you identify trends, see what is working for you, and find people who are conversing about your product or industry through two of the most popular platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
Unlike Twitter, there are basically no proprietary services that provide data about users of Facebook. However, if you currently maintain a Facebook “page” where users “like” your business as opposed to a “friend” account there is plenty of useful data provided by Facebook through their insights feature. Page insights provide information on two main categories: users and interactions.
Under the users tab there is information based on the date range of your choosing broken down into subcategories including active users, new likes, demographics, countries, media consumption, and the activities that users are doing on your page.
The interactions tab shows insights on your posts including likes, comments, and subscriptions. It also shows data about how users are posting directly to your wall, tagging you in posts, or checking into your location. All of the data provided by Facebook from their insights feature is displayed through customizable line graphs, and who doesn’t like graphs? You can also export all of this data into an Excel or CSV file. More information and help with Facebook’s insights can be found here.
Because of the difference in the services they offer, Twitter doesn’t have the same privacy concerns that Facebook has which allows for the development of unique resources using the Twitter API. These services allow for easy tracking of trends and indentifying engaged in topics related to your business. Some of the best resources are explained below.
- Search.twitter.com: The simplest way to see trends on Twitter is on their official search page. Hot trends on Twitter appear on the search page and on the Twitter homepage and clicking any will bring up a feed of the public conversation. The search feature also allows for fully customizable searches including topic(s), people, places, and emotions associated with the post.
- Trendistic: Trendistic provides a graphical interface to see trends and keywords on Twitter. It not only lists out the hot trends over the last few hours, days, and week, but it provides embeddable charts and the ability to compare trends.
- Tweetmeme: Looking for the most popular links on Twitter? Tweetmeme is your resource for finding the most popular links shared on the service broken down by date ranges and topics.
Here are two sites that can help you stay up-to-date about news regarding social media: Mashable and GaryVaynerchuk. These resources should provide a nice starting place for indentifying opportunities to create a dialogue with people interested in your company’s area of expertise. It is important that once you indentify and create these opportunities that you compile your data to see what is working for you.